Table: The Skinny on Next-Generation Wireless

3G

A generic way to describe third-generation cell-phone services offering high-speed Internet access. Scheduled to launch in Europe in 2003, but could be delayed.

2.5G

An intermediate step to 3G, starting in Europe this spring. Much faster than current services, it allows users to send and receive data anytime the phone is on.

WHO'S ON BOARD?

Europe's big wireless providers, including BT Wireless, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Telefonica, KPN, France Telecom, and Vivendi.

THE COST

Upgrading Europe's wireless networks for 2.5G will cost a scant $2.76 billion, or about $9 per user, while handsets that offer 2.5G initially should cost $300 to $500.

Data: BusinessWeek, Forrester Research Inc., Durlacher Research Ltd.

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